Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Ignition Cable

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Cost of Replacing a Bad or Failing Ignition Cable

Common signs include a decrease in power, acceleration, and fuel efficiency, the Check Engine Light coming on, and visible damage to the cables. Our certified technicians can come to you and diagnose the problem. You will receive a $30 credit towards any follow-up repairs that result from the diagnostic. Following are example prices for Ignition Cable (Spark plug wires) Replacement. Click on the button below to get an upfront quote for your car.

Cars Estimate Parts Cost Labor Cost Savings Average Dealer Price
2013 Toyota Tacoma $137 $67.29 $70.00 21% $174.79
2005 Chevrolet Aveo $134 $64.16 $70.00 21% $171.66
2009 Hyundai Elantra $145 $74.86 $70.00 20% $182.36
2006 Cadillac Escalade ESV $194 $96.20 $98.00 21% $246.70
2007 Land Rover Range Rover $132 $61.89 $70.00 22% $169.39
2014 Chevrolet Corvette $193 $116.03 $77.00 17% $234.28
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How to Diagnose a Bad or Failing Ignition Cable?

ignition cable

The ignition cables, commonly referred to as the spark plug wires, are an ignition system component. While the vast majority of newer vehicles have now incorporated coil on plug ignition systems, ignition cables are still found on many road going cars and trucks. The ignition system works by firing off sparks at regularly timed intervals in order to ignite the engine’s fuel mixture. It is the job of the ignition cables to carry the engine’s spark from the ignition coil or distributor, to the engine’s spark plugs.

Spark plug cables are made of durable, low resistance materials that are able to withstand the high energy of the ignition system, as well as the harsh conditions underneath the hood. As they are link that carries the spark necessary for the engine to operate, when the spark plug cables have any issues they can cause problems that can affect engine performance. Usually faulty ignition cables will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue.

1. Decrease in power, acceleration, and fuel efficiency

One of the most common symptoms of an issue with the ignition cables is engine performance problems. The ignition cables carry the spark from the coil and distributor to the spark plugs so that engine combustion can occur. If there is any issue with the spark plug wires the engine spark can be disturbed, which can result in engine performance issues such as misfires, a reduction in power and acceleration, as well as a reduction in fuel efficiency. In severe cases bad cables may even result in engine stalling.

2. Check Engine Light comes on

Another symptom of a potential issue with the ignition cables is an illuminated Check Engine Light. Faulty cables can lead to engine misfires as well as excessively rich air fuel ratio, both of which can set off the Check Engine Light if detected by the computer. A Check Engine Light can also be set off by a number of other performance issues, so having the computer scanned for trouble codes is highly recommended.

3. Visible wear or damage to cables

Visible wear or damage is another symptom of an issue with the ignition cables. Old cables may dry out, which may lead to cracks in the insulation. There are also instances where the cables may rub up against a hot manifold or engine component, which may cause them to melt and burn up. Both of these issues may compromise the cable’s ability to transport the spark to the spark. This can lead to misfires and other performance issues, and in more serious cases may even lead to the cables shorting against the engine.

While many newer vehicles are now being manufactured without ignition cables, they are still found on a large number of road going cars and trucks, and play a vital role in engine performance. If you suspect that your vehicle may be having an issue with the ignition cables, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if the cables should be replaced.

Misfire
ignition system
fuel economy

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YourMechanic Ignition Cable (Spark plug wires) Replacement Service

Average Rating

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Number of Reviews

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Rating Summary
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Quentin

19 years of experience
146 reviews
Quentin
19 years of experience
Very professional. Knowledgeable too.
2005 CHEVROLET SILVERADO 1500 - IGNITION CABLE (SPARK PLUG WIRES) - SPRING, TEXAS

Herman

10 years of experience
72 reviews
Herman
10 years of experience
I have used his services twice and both times he has done a great job.
1992 MERCEDES-BENZ 500SEL - IGNITION CABLE (SPARK PLUG WIRES) - MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA

Tien

20 years of experience
746 reviews
Tien
20 years of experience
punctual, efficient, good service
2000 MAZDA PROTEGE - IGNITION CABLE (SPARK PLUG WIRES) - OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

Robert

29 years of experience
179 reviews
Robert
29 years of experience
Robert was great. Showed up on time. Diagnosed my problem fast and fixed the problem just as fast. My car is running great. I would recommend him to anyone.
2004 PONTIAC MONTANA - IGNITION CABLE (SPARK PLUG WIRES) - SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA

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